Monday, 4 July 2011

New DCU Masters in Sustainable Development

Last Friday I was invited to assist the DCU Launch of the new Master's Degree in Management for Sustainable Development ( together with Vice President for Learning Innovation Professor Richard O'Kennedy. Richard launched the course and I gave the Keynote Address on behalf of Engineers Ireland.

The timing was very apt on the day after the preliminary results for the 2011 Census were announced showing Ireland's population at its highest for 150 years at 4.5million approx and some 100,000 more the CSO had expected. The implications of this increase will have significant consequences for our social and educational infrastructure in particular.

The new Distance Learning MSc by Oscail - DCU's distance learning unit - is based on the philosophy that for a business to be successful and sustainable longterm that the business manager must effectively manage the economic social and environmental challenges in a holistic way.

The core infrastructural areas to be covered by the course are Waste, Water and Energy - all critical areas which are key to our economic recovery. Uniquely for a third level institution, in my experience, the course will also cover the whole area of Procurement which is complex and will require interfacing with technical commercial and legal issues.

Anne Morrissey, the course director, and Seamus Fox, Head of Oscail, demonstrated the Wimba based tutorials available at home for those pursuing this course. More graphically a Connamara based student of the course living on the Sky Road in Clifden talked of the ease with which she hopes to take the course this autumn based on her previous distance learning.

 At the launch in the Helix DCU - P J Rudden President of Engineers Ireland, Professor Richard O'Kennedy Vice President of Innovation and Learning DCU and Dr Anne Morrissey Programme Director DCU

DCU recognise the importance which Engineers Ireland attach to the whole area of strategic national infrastructure based on our recently published The State of Ireland's Infrastructure Report.

In my remarks I referred to the banking and property crisis and remarked that we needed "to get back to 'plan led' sustainable development not 'developer led' which had created much of our current difficulties". I also expressed my amazement that not a single town planner, architect, engineer or environmental scientist had yet been employed by NAMA so it was impossible for them to accurately assess the true value of the distressed assets under their control. "Never was the content or timing of this course on Management for Sustainable Development more needed in Ireland than at present", I concluded.

After the launch I got a guided tour of the Engineering faculty from Dr Noel Murphy, Head of the School of Electronic Engineering, and Professor Barry McMullin, Director of the RINCE Institute (Research in Networks and Communications Engineering). DCU research supports Irish Industry in biomedics, fibre optics, biophotonics, plasma and nanoelectronics.

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